We bought that house together months before our wedding but it was never really mine. In his mind, he did all the work so he became the sole owner and he made that clear. I didn’t care. In the end, I just walked away from it all and threw everyone into a state of confusion. Who walks away like that unless there’s another man?
I tried to be like them and, in conforming, I began to drown. In the end, I went back to get my things. I left half of everything – half of the towels, half the dishes, half the sheets, I left the bed, I took the couch, and I left the house. It was never mine. I cleaned it. I cooked his dinner in it. I tried to be his wife in it. I wanted to die in it.
One night I went back to pick up my cat. His new girlfriend, the Bud Girl from Vegas, was allergic. The dog was off limits though, because she liked Jack. He’d left her picture at my sister’s house. Had he planted it there as if accidentally, so that I’d see his new girlfriend? She was cute. She wore her Bud Girl uniform proudly and stood beaming next to a hairy overweight and heavily bearded biker. I think his planted photo scheme bombed. I simultaneously thought it was funny, sad and desperate.
The night I picked up my cat, I stood in the living room and he moved closer to me, trying to pull me into an embrace that I didn’t want when the telephone began to ring. My telephone number, my telephone, my answering machine. “Hi, Baby it’s me…” my eyebrows rose as I spun back to look at his face. I stared at the person who had been accusing me of cheating for a month and a half. I glared at the person who threatened to change the locks on our house before we were divorced because his father told him to – the person who was just trying to pull me into an embrace. I moved to pick up my telephone and say hello. “Wait!” he pleaded, “Don’t.” My hand hovered over the cradled telephone as I weighed the importance of picking it up. What did she know about me? Did she know I hadn’t even moved out yet? That we weren’t divorced? Did she know that he was trying to sleep with me while I picked up the cat? Did I really care enough to tell her?
I took a step back and listened to the disembodied voice calling my husband ‘Baby’. I looked around the room that I hated and my eyes finally came to rest on him. He had no idea what to do. Was he waiting for me to confront him? Was he waiting for me to retaliate after the accusations that I’d cheated? Did he need me to explain again that sometimes people leave because they’re drowning? Should I scream that I’d slept in my car because of him? That my own family stepped away from me because of my alleged cheating?
I stepped away from the telephone and picked up the crate holding Rosie. He reached for me again as she hung up, trying to pull me closer but I resisted. “I’ll be here with the moving truck in two weeks.”
She moved in a month later. I moved to Greenwich and a house full of single girls.